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Transparency in Construction Progress Via 360° Photos

By Ewa Parker, Harper General Contractors Project Engineer

In the midst of a society driven by social demand, the construction industry is far from exempt from these pressures. Along with shorter timelines, owners want the ability to be engaged in their jobsites and have a full understanding of the construction project. Advances in technology have addressed this issue with the development of a 360-degree camera, now widely used in the field of construction.

The photos captured with a 360-degree camera provide a more complete view of the field, which permits the viewer to see things that he or she would not otherwise be able to with a standard camera. These photos are also interactive, allowing the user to maneuver the viewpoint and zoom in and out.

This technology enables the owner to see and access the project at his or her convenience, and it supports the relationship between the contractor and owner by facilitating open communication about the project. This level of transparency builds trust and clearer communication during the construction progress. Standard images limit the ability for the owner to see all aspects in the field, which leaves doubt, questions and uncertainty of the hidden areas.

The integration of 360-degree images in construction projects ultimately helps remove the gaps and misinterpretations that are prevalent in written reports. Visual reports can help eliminate or reduce the need for costly and inconvenient site visits, as well as provide a more accurate sense of physical spacing. The increased ability to communicate with owners, architects, engineers and contractors that this imagery provides can reduce costly change orders and assist in keeping projects on schedule.

Timothy Lewis, Senior Project Manager at Harper General Contractors, reiterates the time-saving benefit that contractors gain by using 360-degree photos as he says, “Documentation is important; However, it is time consuming. Using 360-degree photo technology each week helps reduce the time needed on the project. The entire 9,000 square foot Asheville City Centre project was captured in only 16 images with the use of this camera. With a standard camera, 96 images would be needed to get a comprehensive view of the space, yet it still wouldn’t communicate the same information. 360-degree photos can save an hour a week if not more, which would give us the time to focus on building instead of documenting a structure.”

Below is an example of how 360-degree images are being used at the Asheville City Centre Project. With the interactive PDF, the owner has the ability to simply click on the camera stamp to activate the 360-degree image. Once the image is activated, the user can change their viewing position, as well as zoom in on a certain point with the use of the mouse. The interactive abilities of the photographs have helped builders and owners alike with a better visual interpretation of ongoing projects.

Click for a 360-degree example by following this link, and then clicking the small icon in the top right of the image.

 

About the Author:

Ewa Parker’s love for construction began at an early age. Raised in the north, this Upstate New Yorker’s childhood was filled with treehouse building and working on verse projects with her father and stepfather. Ewa is currently attending Western Carolina to pursue her degree in Construction Management during which she has interned with Harper. Since then, she has been working part-time while she finishes school and has accepted a full-time position as a Project Engineer once she graduates come spring 2018.

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